Ken Kurson, an associate and ally to Jared Kushner and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, was taken into custody Friday on charges of cyberstalking activities that date back to 2015.
Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn allege the former editor-in-chief of The New York Observer used several aliases to file false complaints, post negative reviews and make unsolicited contact with at least three victims.
The Office of the Eastern District of New York said Kurson was taken into custody in Brooklyn early Friday and was scheduled to make his first court appearance in federal court later in the day.
"Ken Kurson is an honorable man, a loving dad and a gifted writer. The conduct alleged is hardly worthy of a federal criminal prosecution. Ken will get past it," his lawyer, Marc Mukasey, said in a statement.
The stalking and harassment of three individuals allegedly occurred in November and December of 2015 when Kurson "engaged in a disturbing pattern of retaliatory harassment" and "malicious cyberstalking activity." He's accused of leaving false and defamatory reviews on Yelp as well as sending numerous emails from under aliases to harass and intimidate his victims.
Officials from the FBI first opened their investigation in 2018 after Kurson was offered a position with an independent federal agency, docs say. The investigation was triggered after Kurson submitted a routine questionnaire to the FBI in connection with the appointed position where he falsely claimed to use no other names or aliases, investigators say.
The criminal complaint unsealed Friday says Kurson used two aliases to conduct his alleged internet harassment: Jayden Wagner and Eddie Train. He's accused of using these aliases to execute retaliation against a person investigators say he blamed for the dissolution of his marriage. Federal investigators learned that during these last months of 2015 Kurson was undergoing divorce proceedings.
Kurson spent concerted efforts to harass the person he felt responsible for his divorce, as well as the person's spouse and one of their co-workers, the complaint says. In one of the many email exchanges Kurson is alleged to have sent through one of the aliases, he wrote to the spouse alleging an extramarital affair between their partner and the co-worker. At one point, Kurson is also accused of visiting their workplace to take photos and inquire about work schedules.
"As alleged, Kurson bullied his victims by attacking their character online and attempted to intimidate them by showing up at their place of employment without a valid reason," FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney said in a statement.
At least one of Kurson's victims underwent medical treament and therapy as a result of the harassment they experienced, court documents show.